Tis the season…for creating excess waste, if the merry statistics I’ve come across lately are anything to go by. Apparently in Australia alone we use approximately 8000 tonnes of wrapping paper every Christmas! Luckily there are some interesting alternatives for wrapping gifts around!
Have you heard of the Japanese art of furoshiki? It’s the origami of gift wrapping – gifts are wrapped in pieces of cloth which can then be reused; the only fixed requirement is that the cloth must be square. I even adapted that rule by forming an old scarf into a square shape before I began the wrapping process. Op shops are always brimming with scarves and fabric bundles, often brand new, that would be perfect for furoshiki. There are plenty of detailed instructions online for wrapping different shaped items — I gave it a go on the simplest shape I could find, a flat, rectangular box and did okay. I wouldn’t recommend starting to learn furoshiki on Christmas Eve with a pile of presents and a deadline looming, but it’s certainly worth looking into if you have a bit of time heading into Christmas.
A much simpler alternative is just to use a reusable bag — maybe buy some new ones to those you use when grocery shopping so you don’t gift someone a discarded lettuce leaf along with it! Keep a set packed away with the Christmas decorations so you are good to go year after year. You can buy pretty nice canvas bags for around $2 so this is an affordable option. You can tie closed with some twine if you have anyone prone to peeking in your house!
Even simpler, although more expensive are specially designed drawstrings bags for gift giving. Shove it in, pull closed and away you go. No scissors to find, no deflating feeling as you realise you were not bestowed with the gift of being able to glide a pair of scissors effortlessly through a sheet of paper and no sticky tape!
I can admit, especially for kids, these methods don’t quite have the same thrill of tearing into that long-awaited present on Christmas morning, so I think wrapping paper will always still have a place. Just double check the one you choose is recyclable — some of the glossier or embellished varieties won’t be suitable.